Aquafaba (chickpea or bean water) is something most of us have and would typically throw away. It is an amazing substance that can be a very useful and versatile ingredient that will have you eating more chickpeas and beans just to get and use the water! I’ve been fascinated with aquafaba ever since I heard of it being whipped into white fluffy stuff and was excited to learn more about it and to review Aquafabulous! – 100+ Egg-Free Vegan Recipes Using Aquafaba by fellow Vancouverite Rebecca Coleman.
When the book arrived, I noticed how pretty it is and just love the colour and the cover picture – what a gorgeous Baked Alaska – and the beautiful pink Macarons on the back. The title is, well, just so perfect to describe this “magical bean water”. It was interesting to read how Rebecca Coleman came to write this book and like many of us who try using aquafaba for the first time – we go from extremely doubtful to completely astounded!
Aquafabulous is a comprehensive guide to using aquafaba and shows how to use it to emulsify, bind, or thicken. It includes valuable information on how to make it yourself from dried beans/peas, how to store it, and answers many questions that will come up when you start to use it. From the contents alone I quickly realized how incredibly versatile it is. Aquafaba is a substitute for eggs and the book includes recipes that seem impossible to make without eggs (Scrambled “Eggs”, Frittata, French Toast, Omelet). The book includes over 100 recipes for breakfast, snacks, appetizers, salad dressing, mains, baking and sweet treats.
I chose several recipes to try. First I made my own aquafaba, aptly the first recipe in the book. We use a lot of pulses so I typically buy them dry and cook them myself. Following the directions I easily made my own aquafaba.
The next recipe I tried was Marshmallow Fluff. Noted in the book homemade aquafaba does not seem to whip as well as canned aquafaba and unfortunately my Marshmallow Fluff made with my own aquafaba was not particularly fluffy and separated before long. It may have been helpful to include which recipes required canned aquafaba and which ones can be used with home made aquafaba although basic guidelines are given. However, the taste was wonderful (absolutely no bean flavour) and with the addition of the vanilla bean seeds (a variation in the book) it was delicious. It was so good I will definitely try it again using canned aquafaba. I was interested in the recipe as a possible lower calorie frosting, whipped topping for fruit or dessert than a comparable product like jarred marshmallow fluff, whipped cream or whipped coconut cream.
The next recipe I tried was the Roasted Garlic Mayo. In a word – AMAZING! It was creamy, rich, and full of flavour. It was so easy to make and my only regret was not doubling the recipe. I can’t wait to try the other mayo recipes in the book. When I added it to the Chickpea “Chicken” Salad Sandwiches (also in the book), it was divine.
Nutritionally, aquafaba is very low in calories and does not offer a source of any particular nutrient The reason it whips and works the way it does remains a mystery but regardless, it is a very useful ingredient. It has particular benefits for those who need or wish to avoid or reduce eggs. Replacing eggs with aquafaba may be helpful for those wanting to reduce saturated fat, cholesterol and calories.
There are many more recipes I would love to try from Aquafabulous, including this recipe for Roasted Carrot Dip.
Roasted Carrot Dip (reprinted with permission)
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 tsp toasted cumin seeds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp canned and cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1⁄4 cup aquafaba
1 tbsp tahini
1 1⁄2 tsp seasoned rice vinegar
Tortilla chips, pita chips or crackers
Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining it with foil.
1.In a medium bowl, combine carrots, garlic, 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil, 1 tbsp (15 mL) cumin seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well to coat.
2.Spread carrots in a single layer on prepared baking sheet and bake in preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until crispy around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
3.In food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine roasted carrots and garlic, chickpeas, aquafaba, 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil, tahini and rice vinegar. Process until smooth, stopping the motor to scrape down sides of work bowl, as necessary. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if desired.
4.Transfer to a bowl. Garnish with 1 tsp (5 mL) cumin seeds and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve warm with tortilla or pita chips or crackers.
Aquafabulous is a very unique book that has wonderful ideas. Thanks to Robert Rose for sending me a copy to review. All opinions are my own.